Token White Guy: Writing About Writing About Me

Jonathan has played the token white guy in more than 60 Chinese films and sitcoms. Not surprisingly, he has more than a few tales to tell about his experiences.

The LA Times called and wanted to interview a few weeks ago. I was terrified.

I get interviewed a lot but this was different. This was my hometown paper. My high school buddies would read it. The guy who got my part in the school play would read it. All the girls who broke my heart would read it.

And of course we can say, like who cares right? That's history, I haven't seen them in 20 years, probably never will again. But on the other hand, what is important? We're just a tiny speck of life on a tiny speck of a planet in a universe heading for an inexorable annihilation so in the larger sense, nothing matters. So, having girded myself with logic, I decided to accept that I cared and give myself permission to obsess about it.

So now, two weeks after it got published I have:

A movie option on the rights to my life

Another interview on National Public Radio

Talks about a reality TV show about my life

Ditto on a documentary about me.

Ditto on a TV series based on my life

Ex-heart breakers coming out of the woodwork (or more prosaically, out of Facebook) to tell me what a big mistake they made way back when.

And so that's why I wanted to write this month's column. There is this guy who posted the NPR article up on his Google Buzz. He and like-minded people took turns making fun of me. And I'm not gonna lie and say I love that, but all the things they say are interesting to me (and to them as well albeit presumably in a different way). And so to make this all more meta, I'm going to post this up on that same Buzz Feed, and then add below any comments people make. So this month's column will be: a column written by me about people writing about me including comments from people writing about me writing about me.

Fire away guys. I promise anything you write, no matter how mean, scurrilous, insulting, cut-me-straight-to-the-bone it may be, it will be included in my column. [Ed. note: These are the highlights]

Bobbie Furbanks - he's at it again …

Mia L - I think he means a real nice level of being totally delusional. No one in China knows who he is.

Carlos Ottery - JKR is very much what the English would call, 'a complete tool'. His own writers' group sent me a very good link on good writing yesterday. I quite liked its final point (one that Rob raised previously): Still, I guess when you reach his level of famousness you can tear up the rule book.

Sir Arthur Funwick - Caveat emptor, Jonathan. "Fame is a mask that eats into the face.” (Updike I think).

Mikala Reasbeck - Not to change the subject, but I've always wondered about this: When you sell the rights to your life story/stories of your life is it like that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer sells his stories to J. Peterman and then can't tell them anymore?

Stefan Pernar - @Mia: "No one in China knows who he is." Uhmm nope - I have been out with Jonathan numerous times and everyone and his dog knows him, its scary. Not that he needs anyone to further massage his ego, but not only that but he is smart as hell and has probably read more books then all of us combined. To me he is a friend and an intellectual first and an actor a distance second.

Mia L - @Pernar You are what we call in Chinese a 쯩솖.

Stefan Pernar - @Mia, statement of fact countered with name calling. Hmmm. That would make you what we call in German 'Hirn verbrant'.

Mia L - If "everyone and his dog knows him (which does NOT sound Hirn verbrannt AT ALL btw)", how come he doesn't have any fan page or any fan club or any... fan (besides you)?

Sir Arthur Funwick - To me, any obsession with fame per se – over, let’s say, craft, or quality of output – is faintly risible. Can’t really imagine Gielgud ever said, “I’m at a nice level of famousness right now.” For one thing, he treasured his privacy (it allowed him to indulge in cottaging). For another – well, he was a serious actor. Still, congratulations on the recent accomplishments regarding the reality show and I will certainly buy the DVD of your life when I see it in Sanlitun (or Megabox, whichever comes first). I’m not going to congratulate you on your new high-school groupies, though.

Susan Barker - The point is to be as mean as possible. So far these insults have revealed far more about the people making them, than the person they are directed at.

Talk Editor - OK, Mr Kos-Read, enough is enough. Need I remind you your deadline was last week?